Israeli Government Shuts Down AP Live Feed From Gaza, Seizes Equipment as New Media Law Takes Effect

The AP called the move “an abusive use by the Israeli government of the country’s new foreign broadcaster law”

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The AP

Israeli government officials seized a camera and broadcasting equipment belonging to The Associated Press on Tuesday, shuttering the outlet’s live stream from Gaza, citing the nation’s new media law.

Passed in April, the law allows the shuttering of outlets which the government deems a threat to national security. 

Officials from the Communications Ministry arrived at the AP location in Sderot on Tuesday, seizing equipment and handing over a piece of paper signed by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, alleging that the outlet was violating the new foreign broadcaster law, according to the AP

Later on Tuesday, Israel’s communications minister ordered the return of the AP’s equipment, reversing course after shutting down the outlet’s live feed. 

“While we are pleased with this development, we remain concerned about the Israeli government’s use of the foreign broadcaster law and the ability of independent journalists to operate freely in Israel,” Easton wrote in an updated statement

Shortly after the initial seizure took place, the AP released a statement condemning the move, in the “strongest terms.”

“The shutdown was not based on the content of the feed but rather an abusive use by the Israeli government of the country’s new foreign broadcaster law,” AP spokesperson Lauren Easton wrote. 

“We urge the Israeli authorities to return our equipment and enable us to reinstate our live feed immediately so we can continue to provide this important visual journalism to thousands of media outlets around the world,” the statement concluded. 

The foreign broadcaster law was passed in Israel in April, with its first target being Al Jazeera’s Israel operations. Israeli officials used the law to close down the offices of the Qatar-based broadcaster on May 5 and confiscated its equipment, banned the channel’s broadcasts, and blocked its websites.


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